Making a clean sweep for safety
Open fires not only warm up a home, but also create a unique relaxing ambience. With the numbers of people using open fires growing, the Fire Kills campaign has provided some top tips for safer chimneys.
- Always use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks from hot embers
- Make sure embers are properly put out before you go to bed
- Keep chimneys and flues clean and well maintained
Station Commander Alan Haley from Community Safety, HWFRS explains: "With the colder, winter months looming, people will begin to start using open fires and their chimneys again. In order to keep you and your family safe from fire, you need to take necessary steps such as ensuring your chimney is swept regularly, depending upon what fuel you burn and I would urge all householders to have a working smoke alarm in their home."
Station Commander Haley continued: "Latest statistics show that there are approximately 7,000 chimney fires a year in England, but most chimney fires are preventable".
"All chimneys and flue-ways should be cleaned and checked during the summer months to ensure they're free from debris and in full working order before the heating season. A blocked or defective chimney can cause both chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning so it's very important to employ a professional qualified Chimney Sweep."
He urged people to give proper consideration to all aspects of safety when installing woodburning stoves and flues. He recommended using an approved engineer from HETAS (Heating Equipment Testing and Approvals Scheme) who will ensure that appliances and flues are installed safely and that the proper insulated flue liners are used and correctly fitted.